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Beer is the third most widely consumed drink in the world, ranking only after water and tea. But this alcoholic beverage has more to offer than just its sensorial buzz. Not many people are familiar that beer packs a variety of beneficial compounds that can do wonders for the skin, hair, and overall health.
For starters, it is richly endowed with antioxidants that counter the harmful activity of free radicals, which are responsible for a great deal of cellular damage. If left unchecked, this type of cellular damage eventually paves the way for various illnesses, including cancer and cardiovascular ailments.
Free radicals are essentially unstable reactive molecules that attack healthy cells and are released in the body as by-products of various metabolic processes. The antioxidants in the nonalcoholic components of beer can help limit this damage to prevent the onset of serious health problems.
Not just that, these antioxidants also mitigate the damage caused to skin cells by these free radicals to delay the onset of wrinkles, fine lines, and other signs of aging. Plus, beer is made with yeast, which is an excellent source of amino acids, B vitamins, silicon, potassium, selenium, iron, magnesium, and zinc, all of which can help protect, repair, and nourish your skin and hair.
Here are some ways in which beer can enhance your skin, hair, nails, and overall beauty:
1. Fights Premature Aging
There are several antioxidants present in different types of beers, (1) most notably polyphenols and melanoidins. (2) Research on antioxidants has shed light on their ability to fight various signs of premature aging, which is becoming a common problem at an alarming rate today.
Premature skin aging occurs due to a combination of factors, such as smoking, unprotected sun exposure, pollution, negligent skin care, poor diet, and generally unhealthy lifestyles.
Many of these factors trigger the release of free radicals inside the body, which then damage your healthy tissues, important fats, and even your DNA! This damage may start at the cellular level but presents itself over time in the form of fine lines, wrinkles, skin discoloration, and saggy skin.
Nonalcoholic components of beer consumed at very low and controlled amounts can help block these radicals from wreaking havoc on your skin cells to keep it looking young and healthy for longer. Beer also contains protein, silicon, and a range of nourishing minerals and vitamins that can aid cell renewal to keep your skin tight, supple, and wrinkle-free.
How to use:
- Make an antiaging mask by adding 1 tablespoon of beer to the egg white of one egg and mixing in 3–4 drops of almond oil to make a solution.
- Evenly apply this mixture to your face and neck.
- Wait for it to dry, and then wash it off with warm water.
- Pat your skin dry, and finish off with your regular moisturizer.
2. Fights Skin Infections
Beer may help treat skin infections such as acne. (3) Acne blemishes develop when commensal bacteria such as Staphylococcus aureus and Staphylococcus epidermidis that commonly reside on your skin begin to overgrow and build up in your skin pores. They feed on cellular debris and sebum (or your skin’s natural oil), proliferating rapidly and giving rise to skin infections.
Beer gets its bitter flavor and characteristic aroma from an ingredient called hops, which are also credited with significant antibacterial properties that can be traced back to the flavonoids present in it, including alpha- and beta-dihydroxanthohumol and 8-prenylnaringenin. These properties may even work against methicillin-sensitive and methicillin-resistant bacteria.
Hops also exhibit antifungal activity but mostly against fungal strains that usually infect plants. (4) So, further research is needed to confirm if it will help eliminate fungal skin infections such as dandruff. However, there are beer-based antidandruff shampoos infused with antifungal agents that you can try.
Certain beers also contain a natural compound produced by bees called propolis, which is known to work as an antioxidant, antimicrobial, anticancer, and anti-inflammatory agent. (5) Thus, this extract can single-handedly help fight different types of pathogens and may even help soothe the inflammatory symptoms caused by skin infections.
Lastly, the yeast in beer works as an astringent to curb sebum production, which is a prime contributor to acne breakouts. Yeast also helps maintain your skin’s natural pH by keeping it slightly acidic, which deters microbial overgrowth that triggers infections. An alkaline skin environment, on the other hand, is conducive to the growth of bacteria and other infection-causing microbes.
How to use:
- Mix 1 tablespoon each of beer and honey in a bowl.
- Using a cotton ball, apply this solution to your acne-ridded skin.
- Wait for 15 minutes so that it gets absorbed, and then rinse your skin with warm water.
3. May Strengthen Brittle Nails
Beer contains many nutrients that can strengthen and repair weak, damaged nails. Beer is replete with silicon, which is one of the main components of nails. (6) The importance of silicon for nail health can be understood from the fact that soft or brittle nails are usually a sign of systemic silicon deficiency. (7)
Beer also contains selenium, potassium, and biotin, which help in building and nourishing your nails.
How to use:
- Mix 1 tablespoon each of beer, raw, unfiltered apple cider vinegar, and warm olive oil.
- Dip your nails in this solution for 15 to 20 minutes, 2–3 times a week.
Note: There is no research that says dipping your nails into beer will allow silicon to get absorbed into them, but still this topical remedy is worth a try.
4. Helps Keep Your Skin Clean
The skin is the most exposed part of your body and therefore naturally undergoes a lot of wear and tear daily. But it is also a self-regenerating organ that keeps shedding its dead cells to make room for new ones in order to repair this skin damage.
The dead skin cells rise to the surface of the skin and are then gradually sloughed off into the environment. It takes almost a month for the entire outer layer of the skin to be shed this way so that fresh new skin can rise from underneath to take its place.
However, many factors can hinder or slow this process down, causing dead skin cells to accumulate on your skin, making it look dull and patchy. Plus, these dead cells clog your skin pores and invite pathogens to feed on them, resulting in infections such as acne.
With astringent properties, beer can help deep clean and shrink your pores and also maintain a healthy skin pH.
How to use:
- Mash 3 ripe strawberries in a bowl.
- Mix in 1–2 teaspoons of beer depending on how thick you want the paste to be.
- Massage this paste on your face and neck with gentle, circular finger motions.
- Let it sit for 15–20 minutes before washing it off with lukewarm water.
5. May Make Your Hair Soft, Smooth, and Shiny
Beer has gained popularity as a hair rinse to achieve shiny and smooth tresses, and this is evident from the availability of many beer-based shampoos and conditioners on the market.
However, there isn’t enough scientific evidence to back this claim. These suggested hair benefits are generally attributed to two proteins found in beer called hop and malt, which may help rebuild damaged hair cuticles and strengthen hair follicles to prevent excessive hair loss.
Beer also contains B vitamins and yeast, which may further nourish lackluster hair back to health. Beer helps moisturize dry, frizzy hair to make them soft, bouncy, and manageable. It even works for curly hair that is especially difficult to tame.
It is important to note though that for curly hair, you should use dark and nonalcoholic beer only. Of all the alcohols, beer has the least alcoholic content, which makes it safe for hair application but in limited amounts.
How to use:
The idea is to use flat beer as a conditioner to blow life into dull and rough hair. There are two ways to flatten your beer: leave it open for about 10 hours, or if you are in a hurry, pour it into a container and microwave it.
This is what you do next.
- Wash and shampoo your hair.
- Pour some flat beer in your hands and apply it from the roots to the tips. You can also put the beer in a spraying bottle and spritz it all over your hair and scalp.
- Gently massage the beer into your scalp with your fingers using circular motions for 5 minutes.
- Wait for another 5 minutes, and then wash your hair thoroughly with plain water.
- Prepare a hair rinse by mixing 1 cup of flat beer with the same amount of water.
- Add in 2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar, and give the solution a stir.
- Use the solution to rinse your hair after shampooing.
How often you use these remedies depends on how your hair responds to them and the extent of hair damage.
You can reap the health and beauty benefits of beer through oral and topical use, provided it’s done correctly. Too much of a good thing can be bad, which is true in the case of beer. This drink is healthy so long as it is consumed in moderation.
Similarly, you should be judicious with its topical use, considering it is an alcohol. Even though the alcoholic content of beer is less than that of other alcoholic beverages, it can still dry out your skin and hair if applied in excessive amounts or too frequently.